Pictures I took while in the 3rd ACR and 3/8 Cav in the mid 1980s…
Notice the orientation of the oil cans in the back of the vehicle a couple images up. The model makers never get it right. The can opening is always toward the inside of the vehicle, as it is less dusty there. A couple of these images were mirrored, so be careful of that.
Great photos of the TOW track. Do you have any more of the TC’s .50 mount? I know that was supposed to swivel to the side instead of being the standard mount.
Those are the old TOW carrier M113s before FMC came up with the M901 ITV; putting the TOW missile launcher in an armored box, keeping the gunner same from gunfire.
Last picture is the M106 120mm Mortar Carrier.
I want to build the updated version - the M1064A3
How hard is it to get the conversion kit?
Oh yes, I’m quite familiar with the M901 ITV. I’m just surprised that the old TOW 113 was still around in the BDU era. Particularly in a Regular Army ACR, and not a Guard or Reserve unit. M901 production began in 1977…
ACR was probably low on the hierarchy of needs for big Army. Who knows? I’m stumped as to why the ITVs were not general issued in the MTOE of an ACR.
I guess I’m equating the 3rd ACR near the same level of priority as the 2nd and 11th ACRs in West Germany at the time. They tended to get the newer stuff first, being the forward elements on the front lines of their respective Corps.
Hello Lucky. Those are some good photos. I have always liked the Gray Desert scheme and found it to quite effective, at least in the great southwest of the US.
I was stationed at Fort Bliss in 2011. There were a few vehicles out at Dona Ana in that camouflage in the hard target line.
When I got to West Germany in 1981, we had the TOW CAP equipped tracks. The ITV’s were issued to us not long after I got there. I seem to recall that our battalion was among the initial recipients in USAREUR…CSC 3/36IN 3D AD.
They were big news at that time. I remember that we flipped two of them in pretty short order on the icy roads and at Hohenfels.
My first duty unit in 1993 was an anti-armor company (E Co. 2-7th Inf. - 24th Infantry Div. (M)) and we had them. 3 years later, the Army decided to do away with 11H and most of our vehicles ended up being turned into artificial reefs.
Our DIVARTY had the M981 FISTV, which was the same vehicle, except the turret had the laser rangefinder by itself. You could tell between them by the external fuel tanks and the different front thingy (dunno what’s called) on the M981 versus the M901.
Eventually, the M2 Bradley would make both vehicles obsolete, with the M2 already having a TOW missile launcher, making the M901 a bit redundant, and the M7 BFIST completely replacing the M981 within DIVARTY (Division Artillery).
I noticed a kinda nifty modeling detail in your photos. The “inside” of the trim vane is painted in the vehicle pattern. I do not recall ever doing that on a track… even after breaking a couple.
If we had the paint, the pattern was applied on the outside, but, it was either field drab or green on the reverse. It was a bit embarrassing to have to leave a trim vane in natural wood until the paint was available.
Due to the terrible shadow effect across the lower front hull on a -113, it became unit SOP to lower the trim vanes when we were static in a tree line. Similar to what we see with the mats/burlap on Leo’s and Marders more recently. Hence, many fractured pieces of wood.
I SOJT’d from 11HE9 (ITV) to 11M (Bradley) and it was pretty easy. Just had to re-train muscle memory for switches that were in different places. Also enjoyed the hell out of the Bradley’s performance.
That thingy is officially known as a trim vane.
3rd ACR had the pop up TOW on two of the four M113s in each platoon. We had M60A1s as well. In fact, the scouts had the thermal sight from the TOW, so could see better than the tankers. I left the unit in 1985, came up on levy to West Germany. When I left they had upgrade the tanks, but the scouts still used the pop up TOW. In West Germany the 3/8th Cav (attached to 8th ID) fielded ITVs, and M113s w that weird Dragon ATM mount next to the 50. As I was ETSing in Dec '86 the Bradleys were rolling into the motor pool. 3rd ACR was a CONSUS unit, and participated in Reforger. Its storage equipment in Germany was ITVs, I think - but am not sure. It just took time to get new equipment into soldiers hands. I will never forget the time I looked up while in the motor pool, and noticed a B1 bomber refueling overhead. My POS track would only cost them $35k to rebuild. At a $1B per airplane, that would be enough money to rebuild 28,ooo M113s. I think I spent at least 25% of my service time turning a wrench on that thing.
In the states, crews both mark and paint the camo pattern. Crew preps the vehicle by washing, and using grease to mask. Grease is just sloped onto the lights, for example. HQ platoon sprays the base coat. Crew marks the camo pattern using printed mil specs, with caulk. Crew brush paints on the pattern. You will occasionally see spray painted state side vehicles, because they paint them that way in the factory. For example the M113A2 picture above was a 3rd ACR unit that was sprayed, it was my rebuilt track after we wrecked the other one.
Overseas this is done by the HQ platoon, so you see much less variation, and everything is sprayed. When crews do it, you will see unintentional variations in camo pattern, drips, and strange things like painted trim vanes.
11th ACR was the premier unit in the Army, and equipped first. All ACRs were well equipped, and even better trained. They have the same number of tanks as an armor unit, but have a scout AFV for every tank. Thats double the number of AFVs, and the scouts know how to work the tanks. What I mean by that is they can be very aggressive, and know the tanks will bail them out if they get into too much trouble. Each cav platoon had 4x MBTs, and 4x Scout AFV. Not to mention 155mm how organic to the unit, as well as a squadron of attack helo. They were, and still are the most powerful units in the US Army, and are always used as ‘tip of the spear’
I was the TC on the LTs track, so when he went to the border to scout our battle positions, I took this shot of one of the first M3 bradleys in country, in front of an 11ACR guard shack. The 3/8 cav fighting positions were intermixed with 11 ACR in the fulda area.
I completely forgot that the 50 mount was different. In one of the pictures above, you can see it. Its the picture of the M113A1 with a 50 with no barrel mounted. I’ll look around for more, but I dont think I have any.
Nice call out. I never really thought about the orientation of the cans.
Its always a good idea to base all stowage on pictures. Its an art form, a moving target, too. For example you would never ever EVER see gear stowed on the sides of a cav M113, but you will occasionally on other units. Its a dirty spot to store a backpack, and if your sleeping bag gets wet…
Found some more pictures, and one that shows the 50 mount on the pop up tow equipped M113s…